Bluetooth Headphones support and privacy

I’m looking to buy a good set of headphones, but I remember the Bose issue a few years ago where their app was (and still is) stealing a lot of data. They’ll need to be wireless, a built-in mic and noise cancelling would be good. I don’t want to have to download an app. I’m currently looking at the Sony WH-XB900N.

What has been people’s experience with Bluetooth headsets, Librem hardware, and accessing the features of the headset?

p.s. I’ve ordered the L5 and I hope to get the L14 around Christmas.

The Librem 5 spec sheet says it supports Bluetooth 4 and uses the Redpine Signals RS9116. But looking at Redpine’s website, it says the chips support Bluetooth 5. What is the exact model the Librem 5 uses?
Is it the open source firmware that doesn’t support Bluetooth 5?

I’m using with my Librem 13v4 a Sennheiser MB660. Most times it works excellent - sometimes there is a connection problem which I solve by disabling headphones and bluetooth on the Librem and enable it again.

It came with a usb dongle to connect it to equipment without build-in bluetooth. I use that dongle on my phone at work, but didn’t try it with my Librem.

I like the sound when playing music or watching a movie. Using it as a headset with noise cancellation enabled mutes my own voice also and that feels a bit strange :).

When having it connected to my desktop phone and to the notebook the music on the Librem is paused when a call arrives through the phone. I didn’t really find out how this works, but it does not seem to be possible to restart the music after ending the call - except through the command line using the pulse audio tools.

There is an app around, but I never tried it and didn’t miss it, yet.

All in all I’d get that headphones again.

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Recently I had connection problem I solved by installing a newer kernel from the debian repos.

The headphone now connect a little less good than before (judged by feeling).

Today I tried to use them in headset mode (when I turn on the micro the output is reduced to mono and bad quality) and found that the speakers didn’t work anymore.

Didn’t try with an external bluetooth-usb so far…

The Redpine Signals RS9116 supports Bluetooth 5.0 and the FOSS drivers in the Librem 5 are provided by Redpine Signals, so in theory Bluetooth 5.0 should work, but only Bluetooth 4 has been tested and the Librem 5 schematic only mentions Bluetooth 4.1.

I added this question to the Librem 5 FAQ.


For me it is not working properly on Librem 5 and Librem-Mini with PureOS on both of them.

I have the Sony WH-1000XM3.

For both of them the sound is very low or white noise.

For the Librem-Mini the bluetooth does not work unless you frankenstein load the non-free firmware.

And even with that firmware the bluetooth have the same issues at the Librem5, sound very low, or only white noise.

For me with those headset it is a no good situation.

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Did you try a different USB chipset? The problems I had vanished using an Asus USB BT400 (with firmware from the Debian repos installed).

Your problem is probably caused because Pulseaudio hasn’t yet accepted the code for Bluetooth HSP:

If you are ambitious, you can install the code yourself.

Tried back and forth with Asus BT400 USB and different kernels (see the thread about the kernel updates).

In the end I did the following: Plugged in an usb cable between computer and headset (yes, it does not only have an usb port to charge, but it also provides a sound card by usb :slight_smile: ) and used it in long calls without any problems.

Yes, not ideal, because with bluetooth I could move around, but from the perspective of privacy and security even better than bluetooth.

Edit: Typo.

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